Melbourne has the gold-standard locked down when it comes to breakfast and brunch. There’s no arguing against that, especially when the city has held onto that reputation for years on end without ever having to fear healthy competition like Sydney and Adelaide. It’s been a tremendously difficult job but we dived into the rich and diverse breakfast scene in and around Melbourne and emerged with a pretty damn good top 10 if we do so say ourselves. If you haven’t been to any of these then make sure you wake up early and head along, you won’t regret it.
Cumulus Inc. (Melbourne CBD)
One of the most popular spots on Flinders Lane, Cumulus Inc. has become a certified institution for Melbourne diners, at any time of the day as well. Dinner is what it has become known for, but Andrew McConnell’s stylish eating house is just as vital when it comes to breakfast. And the prices are damn reasonable too, especially when considering what you get. Those especially hungry can grab the signature big breakfast with boiled egg, toast, preserves, yoghurt, and organic orange juice/coffee/tea for a sweet $18, or the full English breakfast with farmhouse slab bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomato for $21, but we prefer some of the more unique offerings like the chopped cold smoked trout, mollet egg & turkish bread for $16, and the excellent marinated mushrooms, zucchini, black barley & slow cooked egg for $17. Whatever you get, you’re pretty much guaranteed an exceptional, satisfying breakfast here.
45 Flinders Ln, Melbourne | (03) 9650 1445 | cumulusinc.com.au
The Kettle Black (South Melbourne)
To no one’s surprise, The Kettle Black remains one of the absolute best spots in Melbourne for breakfast and brunch. Though many would prefer Top Paddock or event the more recent Higher Ground the charm of this South Melbourne mainstay is undeniable, as is the menu of signatures and like the exceptional hotcakes with ricotta, blueberries, maple, double cream, seeds and nuts for $21, and the seasonal coconut set chia with winter citrus, mandarin sorbet and toasted coconut for $18. Of course you can’t forget the more unique standouts like the chilli scrambled eggs with Mooloolaba crab, crayfish oil and samphire for $20, or the Tataki ocean trout with a raw kale and pickled vegetable salad served with seaweed, almonds and poached eggs, priced at $22. If you want to really treat yourself for breakfast then few places can compare to this magnificent and vibrant queue-magnet.
50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne | (03) 9088 0721 | thekettleblack.com.au
White Mojo (Melbourne CBD)
The famous soft-shell crab croissant burger with chipotle mayo is only the beginning when it comes to the excellent White Mojo on Hardware Street. Coffee lovers heaps endless praise onto this local favourite as well, but honestly there’s very little here that isn’t worth the hype. Breakfast lovers will do well in ordering up the $21 double cheese chilli scrambled egg, which is served with parmesan and cheddar mixed through chilli mayo, fried chilli, toasted sweet corn and pork belly bacon on a black brioche; it’s a stunner, easily taking first place but not far ahead of the equally pricey Pork Benny, which is served with steaming pulled pork, compressed apple, seasonable greens, hollandaise, chorizo crumb, and a poached egg stacked on top of a sesame brioche. Just make sure you order a coffee because that’s what this simple, rustic venue is best known for.
115 Hardware St, Melbourne | (03) 9078 8119 | whitemojo.com.au
One of the area’s most popular all-day dining spots, Fitzrovia’s indelible mark on Melbourne’s foodie scene in undeniable. A commitment to produce and fresh ingredients is key here, as well as a far-reaching breakfast menu that features the likes of baked beans with molasses, white miso baked beans, crumbled feta, and Turkish pide; thick cut bacon with Gruyere potato cake, fried free range eggs, chipotle, baby spinach and beetroot remoulade; and polenta crusted gem fish fingers with grilled chorizo, poached egg, corn and coriander fritters, avocado and feta mash, and prosecco hollandaise. It’s always worth stopping by here if you’re planning a picnic as well, as they do some mighty fine gourmet picnic hampers which are as much about opening the palate to local VIC produce as providing customers with high quality eats.
2/155 Fitzroy St | (03) 9537 0001 | fitzrovia.com.au
The Crux & Co. (South Melbourne)
Dynamic, playful and delightfully chirpy, this multipurpose South Melbourne gem is far from your average multipurpose cafe. Their breakfast menu is one of the best in the area, served all day with the likes of matcha pancakes with mont blanc chestnut cream, caramel pop corn, yuzu culies, ganache and fresh berries; date and banana cake with apple compote, peanut butter crunch, espresso marscapone, and orange cognac caramel sauce; and maple toasted granola with vanilla coconut yoghurt, strawberry snow, strawberry balsamic puree and dehydrated mandarin. If you’re heading along later in the day, grab their poke bowl and add a truffle parfait egg – it’s divine.
g01/35 Albert Rd, Melbourne | (03) 9820 1081 | thecruxandco.com.au
Reunion & Co (Richmond)
There’s a lot going on at this chirpy Melbourne cafe that wisely serves coffee from local champs Allpress and extends their breakfast menu to the all-day crowd. Get a stacked and generous eggs benny with slow cooked ham hock, fresh apple, burnt butter hollandaise and apple sauce; seasonal mushrooms on olive bread with a poached egg, aged pecorino cheese and crispy bacon; house-cured trout with a poached egg, kale, quinoa, tomato and broccolini; and house-made pork sausages with hand-cut bacon, seasonal veggies, tomato relish, goats chevre and poached eggs. With a Head Chef that used to work at Top Paddock, consistently great food and coffee, and a charming atmosphere, this neighbourhood favourite is well worth your time.
472 Bridge Rd, Richmond | (03) 9429 5623 | reunionco.com.au
Ned’s Bake (South Yarra)
This all-day bakery and cafe in South Yarra champions traditional ways of making bread in much the same was as Sydney’s exceptional Dust Bakery. Stone-milled is the way to go, and the bread while not gluten-free is very easy to tolerate (though everyone’s different) and has a consistent, light and soft texture. The breakfast menu changes often but with such a loving commitment to quality you’re guaranteed to find satisfaction here; though if the scrambled eggs with clams and chilli is on the menu, go straight for that.
134 Toorak Rd, South Yarra | (03) 9867 2457 | nedsbake.com.au
Bowery to Williamsburg (Melbourne CBD)
Dedicated to the more indulgent hipster lifestyle of New York, Bowery to Williamsburg is a blessing when it comes to those breakfast-lovers who want something a little heavier to kick start their day. The chicken and waffles is one of the best you’ll find in Australia, they pack their sandwiches with all sorts of soul-satisfying ingredients, and they can pump quality coffee out faster than your average cafe. Don’t let the fact that they have two locations somehow trick you into thinking this is some kind of tacky American-fashioned chain; far from it.
16 Oliver Ln, Melbourne OR 123 Hardware Street, Melbourne |
There’s no denying Melbourne’s loved for Auction Rooms cafe. It’s a North Melbourne institution and most definitely one of the quintessential breakfast spots, with a strong commitment to morning nourishment reflected in both their all-day menu and their special “eggs + sides” menu. Take your pick, they’re all winners here, especially the sticky pork shoulder served in rice noodle salad with kale, nam jim, fresh lime, kim chi, and a “son-in-law” egg; corned beef hash with shredded cabbage, leek, poached eggs, pita bread and sriracha hollandaise; and buttermilk griddlecakes with whipped anglaise, brownie, honeycomb and fresh strawberries. Of course no one can forget the signature breakfast board, which features top-quality ingredients like grilled chorizo, smoked salmon rillettes, potato hash, a soft-boiled egg, rye soilders, granola and a super smoothie.
103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne | (03) 9326 7749| auctionroomscafe.com.au
Futuristic modular design and a refreshing commitment to community and sustainability that feels genuine rather than performative, Rudimentary is without a doubt one of the strongest community spaces and dining spots in Footscray. People from all over Melbourne make the trek especially to relax and grab some food and this beautiful space, most valuable in the morning seeing as their menu is offered all-day and includes simple but well executed dishes like an excellent breakfast burger with chorizo, caramelised onion, aioli and a fried egg; a potato and leek tart with bocconcini, crispy potato, a poached egg, and proscuitto; and Cantabrian anchovies served with sourdough, pepperomata, and fried eggs.
16-20 Leeds St, Footscray | 0497 058 173 | rudimentary.com.au
Not enough breakfast for you? Check out our 20 favourite breakfasts in Sydney HERE
Feature image: The Crux and Co. Credited to Simon Shiff.